While I had served as content manager for the Music Library since I arrived at Queens College, in 2007 I began working with a campus web designer to create a more vibrant and user-friendly Music Library web experience.
The Music Library webpage was out-of-date and not user friendly. The homepage was sparse and uninviting.
Informational pages looked more like lists than dynamic webpages. (This was partly due to my lack of web development skills. I created these pages using Dreamweaver and writing and revising html as needed.) It was time for a major upgrade!
I created the sitemap and wireframes and also established the ontologies and taxonomies for the Music Library webpages. While a web designer worked with me, the ultimate sitemap was mine.
I followed the same general process as I had experience on the team that redesigned the Queens College Libraries webpages the previous ssemester.
Having already spent most of semester learning about best practices, my strategy focused on analyzing other music library website, library ontologies and taxonomies, and collating data on faculty and student feedback on the current webpages. (The feedback was largely informal consisting of a combination of discussions with faculty and students, comments from students during in-class library sessions, and feedback from music library staff.
I mapped out the sitemap and ontology and taxonomy of the site. Using wireframes, I showed the web designer how I wanted the pages to work. He offered useful feedback. We tested the prototype (an unpublished webpage) with music library staff, which included students, and librarians who volunteered to help.
The new webpage was dynamic, inviting and fit within campus design and marketing guidelines.
The use of a web designer allowed me to create the kinds of pages I wanted. I was able to walk users through the search process with screen shots. This was particularly important given that growing availability of resources and places to search were relatively new and, for users, confusing.
The pages were in use from 2008-2015. In 2015, campus moved to WordPress and imposed standard menus on all Queens College pages. Much of the research information for the Music Library was moved into a WordPress page and a research guide create via SpringShare. While I am the content strategist for both, I had no say in the design or taxonomy.
What I Learned
It definitely pays to have a skilled web designer! User feedback was extremely positive. Students and faculty found it much easier to navigate and were more easily able to find what they needed.
The success of this redesign spurred the Aaron Copland School of Music to revamp their pages.